Tottenham Hotspur remain without four first-team stars ahead of their FA Cup clash against Middlesbrough this evening…
That’s according to Evening Standard reporter Dan Kilpatrick, who delivered a worrying update to social media ahead of tonight’s encounter at the Riverside Stadium.
“Team news for Boro is the same as Leeds,” he revealed.
“[Oliver] Skipp, [Rodrigo] Bentancur, Lucas [Moura], [Japhet] Tanganga [are] all still sidelined.”
Spurs face the Championship outfit with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
This will come as gutting news to manager Antonio Conte as he is still without four important players, in which three are arguable starters with the latter – Tanganga – usually in line for an appearance in a competition like this.
The FA Cup presents one last opportunity for the Italian to seal instant silverware in north London at a club starved of glory since 2008. They are out of both the Carabao Cup and the Europa Conference League, whilst only a place inside the Premier League’s top four is viable from here.
It’s also a competition that Conte has won before at Chelsea, so he knows all too well what it would mean to clinch it at the end of the season and there’s a promising opportunity to be only three games away with a victory tonight.
Skipp and Bentancur are huge absentees in the engine room as it leaves the manager with only Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Harry Winks as his only senior options available, and they both played the full 90 minutes in the 4-0 win over Leeds on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Moura poses a different type of threat in the attack and whilst he may have lost his place to deadline day signing Dejan Kulusevski, this game would’ve been the perfect chance to hand him some more minutes.
Just like with Tanganga, whose versatility of playing anywhere in defence makes him a valuable rotation option.
To not have any of these four players available at the Riverside is surely a gutting blow, regardless of the opposition, as Conte may not be able to freshen up his starting XI as much as he would’ve perhaps liked.
With important top-flight games against Everton and Manchester United on the horizon, the 52-year-old will be hoping some of, if not all, of his absent stars are back in time.